Solar system

Mars: Mount Olympus

Mars: Mount Olympus

He Mount Olympus of Mars It is the largest known volcano in the Solar System. It is found in the western hemisphere of the red planet.

Mount Olympus is the youngest of the great volcanoes on Mars; It has been formed over the past 1.8 billion years. It was already known before the spacecraft approached the planet, although their details were unknown.

The central massif of the volcano rises almost 23 kilometers over the surrounding plain. This equals three times the height of our Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. It is located in a depression that has a depth of 2 km and is surrounded by large cliffs that reach 6 km high.

Its boiler is 85 km long, 60 km wide and almost 3 km deep. You can see up to six superimposed chimneys, formed at different times. The base of the volcano measures 600 km in diameter including the outer edge of the cliffs. In total, the base covers an area of ​​about 283,000 km², equivalent to the Republic of Ecuador or almost half of the Iberian Peninsula.

It is difficult for us to imagine such dimensions. An observer located on the Martian surface would not be able to see the silhouette of this monstrous volcano, not even moving far from its base; Before we could appreciate its shape, the curvature of the planet would have already hidden it. At most, it would look like a wall or it would be confused with the horizon line.

Nor would we see their forms from the top. Looking down we would not see the end, since the gentle slope would reach the horizon. The only way to see this colossal mountain is from space.

The Martian Olympus Mount is a shield volcano. Unlike compound volcanoes, tall and thin, shield volcanoes are tall and wide, with flat and rounded shapes, like some Hawaiian volcanoes

Its impressive height is due to Mars, unlike Earth, has no tectonic plates that move and transform its surface. For millions of years, Mount Olympus has released lava in exactly the same place. That is why it has been growing to form this huge mountain on the surface of the planet Mars.

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